April 15th, 2008
08:52 AM ET
6 years ago

GOP congressman apologizes to Obama for 'snake-oil' remark

Davis apologized to Obama in a letter Monday.
Davis apologized to Obama in a letter Monday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A Republican congressman has apologized to Barack Obama after referring to the White House hopeful as a “snake-oil salesman” and a “boy.”

In a letter to Obama, Kentucky Rep. Geoff Davis said his “poor choice of words is regrettable and was in no way meant to impugn you or your integrity. I offer my sincere apology to you and ask for your forgiveness. ….

“My comment... in no way reflects the personal and professional respect I have for you.”

Davis spokesman Jeremy Hughes said the congressman delivered the letter to Obama’s Senate office himself Monday morning.

Earlier, Obama’s campaign blasted the comments. “It's hard to tell what is more outrageous - Representative [Geoff] Davis' condescending and personal attack, or his absurd and offensive claim that Barack Obama is not prepared to defend America,” campaign spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement sent to reporters Monday afternoon.

Davis made the comments at a state party dinner Saturday.

After referring to Obama as a “snake-oil salesman,” he added that he had recently participated in a "highly classified, national security simulation" with the Illinois senator.

"I'm going to tell you something: That boy's finger does not need to be on the button," said Davis. "He could not make a decision in that simulation that related to a nuclear threat to this country."


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. Richard

    I think I may move to Canada if we have to endure another dispicable republican administration.

    April 14, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  2. Mike Birmingham, AL

    Careful Republicans...you're prejudices are starting to show.

    oh wait, what do I mean "starting"?

    April 14, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  3. swede_mariner

    Everyone who is saying that Obama is a snake-oil man should be very very ashamed. What a hatred against an honest man who is the only candidate in this race, who can make a difference for us Americans and for the rest of the world. You are unbelievable – shame on you!

    April 14, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  4. James

    ....snake-oil. The very word. Are Americans simply born suckers?

    April 14, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  5. Jim

    The guy is from Kentucky, people! What do you expect?

    April 14, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  6. FOR OBAMA

    Just had to reiterate.. This is the BEST Comment Listed. thanks
    "Let me just guess, a privilaged white woman (Hillary) and a privileged white man (John McCain) are calling a self-made black man an elitist?"

    Why isn't this article HIGHLIGHTED like the "bitter" articles. This is clearly a racist comments that still exists in our country. So when we talk about Rev. Wright we have all of a sudden forgetten about the regular "N" and "boy" comments (that is only to name a few "nice ones" there are an array of derogatory comments that were customarily used against blacks just a couple of years ago) that many 60 years olds used on a daily basis. (McCain and Clinon)

    April 14, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  7. Volvo125

    It's hard to understand how Rep Davis "in no way meant to impugn you or your integrity" when he called Senator Obama a "snake oil salesman". I am sure it was exactly his intention at the time. This is the GOP 'you're only wrong when you get caught' tradition, and we're all sick of it.

    April 14, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  8. Texas4Obama

    It is time for America to move forward.

    Vote – Obama '08

    April 14, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  9. Sharon Minnesota

    I thought his remarks were right on.

    No need to apologize.

    April 14, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  10. ABoyfromNY

    Too hurt to comment....

    Be encouraged Senator. Change ain't easy.

    Barack '08

    April 14, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  11. Michelle

    He apologized for his own words. Obama accepted. Its over with.

    Funny...Obama did the same regarding PA. Its not over with. HRC and McCain dont let it go.

    Funny...Obama did the same for Wright's words (not his own). Its not over with. Opposers keep it going.

    Who are the real Christians? Those who forgive the transgressions of others or those who hold onto offense?

    April 14, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  12. JOHN

    The Republicans true colors are showing.They are the snakes,not Obama.

    April 14, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  13. Ladyleo

    What happened to "if you do not have anything nice to say about a person don't say anything"

    April 14, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  14. Freda Spooner

    I'm am astounded at the stupidity of Mccain and Clinton. Elistist indeed. How in hell does a selfmade man become elitist when he tells it like it is. I have lived thru recessions before and Obama is right, people are angry, frustrated and BITTER. I see it every day. During down times people tend to cling to religion, guns or anything else familar and considered to make sense it their lives. I am fed up with the war hounds, rich fools that use and take advantage of the people who have less. I think that the politicians have forgot who pays their wages. I do, and so ,do you. If many more jobs leave, they will find themselves in the bread line with you and I. It will serve them right. I am seventy and I sure do not a war monger old fool like Mccain running things. Hillary is dishonest and very devious. She lies out right and insults the very armed forces that keep us safe. I think we have an obligation to the country and our children, grandchildren and their children. Therefore BARRACK for president.

    April 14, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  15. Mike

    Great job CNN! If a Democrat had said the same thing, neither the headline nor the first word of the article would have said the word "Democrat." In fact, one would be hard pressed to find out which party the guilty person was from. But if a Republican screws up, it is front and center so nobody misses the fact that it is a Republican. Way to be balanced, CNN! I've been observing this double standard for many years now.

    April 14, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  16. Joe G

    Obama wasn't selling snake oil at the Private, off the record, fund raiser in San Francisco. He was selling his true beliefs of small town America.

    April 14, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  17. Issues Please.....

    Wow......and Ketucky voted for this man. And you status quos say Obama is out of touch......please.

    April 14, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  18. Henry

    President Obama will forgive this man on the steps of the Capitol.

    April 14, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  19. CNN post this! A Concerned Citizen!

    so sad...This is not the behavior a voter expects from senator to senator or congressman/women. This is so sad you have to lower yourself to use this kind of remaks.

    April 14, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  20. OPO

    "Boy" I think Obama is the only candidate that has been subjected to this sort of RACIST comments. I haven't heard anyone call Hillary a "bimbo" or McCain a "cracker." It makes me sad that this sentiment is still alive and well today.

    Has anyone noticed the the voting demographics? Most 60+ year old voters are voting for McCain (white) and Clinton (white). Most of the young vote (the generation that does not have the race/gender factor) and wealthy highly educated voters (those who know their history and the sins of this great nation) are voting for Barack Obama. I feel I am in good company when I vote for Mr. Obama.

    OBAMA '08!!!!!!!!

    April 14, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  21. Von

    I am not surprised by what this Rebpublican said. I am just unsure what he was thinking to say think that this was OK. to say in public. There are lots of people in this country like him but I feel that he is not the majority. I know that eventually people like him who hate because a person is different and are not afraid to take a stand is what he is "bitter" about and this is what Obama comments spoke to the other day. I like him. He is the genuine article not perfect but is the genuine article. I was independent...I am now for OBAMA!

    April 14, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  22. Mary

    The problem you people have with Obama is easy to understand. He is a black man.

    April 14, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  23. MIKE BREAUX

    If this is true, Representative Davis is showing the behavior exhibited by racially prejudiced leadership and law enforcement in the 1960s. They called full grown black men "Boy" to degrade them. People often ask where did all those people go who were beating and killing black people in the 60's? The answer is simple, they are still here.

    April 14, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  24. Julius

    As for Rep. Geoff Davis snake oil remark. This man is no different

    than all the others. His heart felt exactly what he said.

    They ring the bell and say they didn’t mean to say something.

    Well the bell has sounded and heard all over the evening news.

    I think what he meant to say was, “Well I’m good for one or two

    deliberate mistakes as long as I apologize”.These so called

    appointed leaders of this great country sound like a bunch of high

    school kids playing the dozens. I wouldn’t follow most of them across

    the street.

    Signed…

    Sick and tired of these Dang liars

    April 14, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
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